Date(s) - January 18, 2023 - July 2, 2023
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Main and Americas Galleries, January 18 – July 2, 2023
Curated by Assistant Professor of Painting Aitor Lajarin-Encina
“From the landscape: a sense of scale. From the dead: a sense of scale.”
―Richard Siken, “Detail of the Woods”
“To taste the sea, all one needs is one gulp.”
―Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation
MICROLOGIES is a traveling, growing, group exhibition that revolves around the aesthetics of small-scale, micro-materiality poetics and minimum gesture politics. The eclectic group of contemporary artists in this exhibition have been invited to take the challenge of creating a very small but nevertheless significant piece, which is no bigger than 2 1/4 inches (5.7 cm) on each side, the exact measurements of a standard Rubik’s Cube. The cube is used here as a unit of measurement since it serves as an analogy of a small object that allows, through a relational game, for playful reconsiderations of spatial relationships.
The character of this exhibition is interdisciplinary. Only two rules were given to the artists: (1) the projects proposed must be no larger than the maximum proposed size, and (2) the projects should not be scaled-down models of larger works but pieces that are meant to exist and display their full potential in this particularly small scale. Scale takes a key role in any aesthetic experience.
Art writer Eli Anapur stated, “As humans put themselves in the center of the visible world, as masters of the living environments, artworks are measured regarding proportion relative to generalized human scale. They became defined as large, life-size, miniature, or even enormous. The scale is thus something that is habitually examined, and is often an important factor in defining the meaning and significance of each work, particularly in contemporary art…”(1) Therefore, scale is ultimately a radical instigator of awareness in our relationship to the world around us. It is a relational and symbiotical concept that puts in dialogue two spatial realities, with the size of one object in relation to another becoming a major factor in developing our sense of place, sense of self, sense of otherness and sense of overall reality.
The scale relationship that is being examined in this exhibition is the one in which the aesthetic negotiation occurs between “a lilliputian object and a Man-mountain” (2): the one that establishes the intimate encounter between a giant, god-eyed voyeur-like observer (3) and a very small object of scrutiny, an art work, which displays fragility, smallness, and finiteness in relation to its observer and the surrounding architectural ecosystem. MICROLOGIES aims to explore the potential of this “extremed” reception relationship to embed the everyday experience with extra conceptual intimacy and introspective weight experimenting with its capacity to enhance our body and place awareness and steer our stable state of “subjective spatial affairs.”
Considering awareness and its holistic implications, paradoxically, perhaps this extreme focus on the “small finite” could be noticed, which may provide a direct path to connecting with the “vast infinite.” As it was pointed out by artist, curator and social activist Lanfranco Aceti, “Smallness, in the context of today’s big data, expanded digital worlds and representations of infinite global riches or tragedies, becomes a reflection of the role of humanity and human beings in a universe in constant expansion: where everything becomes larger than life. Cosmic infinity, trillions of dollars, billions of people do not provide the mind with comprehensible numbers in a mediated society that increasingly seeks the larger, the gigantic, the bigger to achieve awe and perceive immensity”(4). MICROLOGIES proposes to open up a space to explore the potential of minimum events and the implications of small gestures in relation to macro events and paradigms. This project evaluates the possibilities for philosophical discernment that unfolds when we put in dialogue the “intimate, self-reflexive and profound” in juxtaposition to the grandiose, spectacular and universal.” (5) Ultimately, this exhibition is born out of the promise of a reward, a reward as spoken by actress Liz Vassey, “Notice the small things. The rewards are inversely proportional.”
Micrologies is a DXIX production curated by Aitor Lajarin-Encina that has been previously exhibited at Scharaun, Berlin, Harvard University Boston (co-curated with Francisco Alarcon Ruiz), and Irenic Projects, Los Angeles (co-curated with Jaro Straub). Each iteration has incorporated additional artists from each context.
(1) “How Scale in Art Influences the Viewing Experience,” Eli Anapur.
(2) “Gulliver’s Travels,” Jonathan Swift.
(3) “8 Artists Are Making Impossibly Small Work,” Joe Fig interview on ARTSY.
(4), (5) “The aesthetics of scale,” Lanfranco Aceti Inc.
Francisco Alarcon, Erik Benjamins, Vlad Berte, Bettina Buck, Andreas Bunte, Katarina Burin, Joshua Callahan, Pablo Capitán del Río, Sunah Choi, Amber Cobb, Ginny Cook, James Dean, Mark Dineen, Ahu Dural, Donald Fodness, Linda Franke, Tatiana Echeverri Fernandez, Leon Eixenberger, Victor Esther, Pedro Eurrutia, Bradney Evans, Tobias Fike, Javier Fresneda, Kim Garcia, Brendan Getz, Molly Getz, Robert Gfader, Del Harrow, Sohin Hwang, Ismael Iglesias, Barry McGregor Johnston, Marina Kassianidou, Jennie Kiessling, Lev Khesin, Lucy Kim, Alice Könitz, Cecelia Kreider, Kevin Kwon, Fermín Jimenez Landa, Marius Lehene, Won Ju Lim, Antonia Low, Marsha Mack, Elana Mann, Daniel Mendel-Black, Regina de Miguel, Adam Milner, Dominic Miller, Noha Mokhtar, Fermín Moreno, Ruben Ortiz-Torres, Sally Osborn, Kirsten Palz, Stephen G. Rhodes, Matt Saunders, Kim Schoen, Nina Schuiki, Maya Schweizer, Sammy Seung-min Lee, Ben Siekierski, Joe Sola, Trae Story, Jaro Straub, Pauline Shongov, Tommy Støckel, Tim Tetzner, Jan Tumlir, Derrick Velasquez , Gabriel Vormstein, Sarah Wambold, Clemens von Wedemeyer, and Michael Zahn
About the curator
Aitor Lajarin-Encina is an interdisciplinary artist, educator, and organizer born in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Basque Country, Spain, in 1977. He is currently working in Fort Collins, Colorado. He received his BFA in painting from the University of Basque Country, Bilbao, and his MFA in visual arts from the University of California, San Diego. Recent shows include “Crickets” at the Heritage Square Museum in Los Angeles and “Tarta Tatlin” at Universidad de las Americas in Puebla, Mexico or “La perspectiva” at Artnueve gallery in Spain and “Piano Room” at the Neutra House in Los Angeles.
He is cofounder and codirector of DXIX Projects, an initiative for production and dissemination of contemporary culture and art-related projects and materials initiated in Los Angeles, California, in 2015 and based now in Fort Collins, Colorado. Recent curatorial projects include exhibitions such as “6 Flag BBQ” with artist Ruben Ortiz-Torres as a part of the Pacific Standard Time Los Angeles program, “Co/Lab” at Torrance Art Museum, and “Micrologies” at Scharaun in Berlin, Germany and at Harvard University in Boston and Irenic Projects, Los Angeles.
Aitor has taught painting, drawing, and interdisciplinary studio classes at UC San Diego and UDLAP in Puebla, Mexico. He is currently an assistant professor in painting in the department of art and art history at Colorado State University, where he teaches painting courses and socially engaged courses.
Support for this exhibition at the Gregory Allicar Museum of Art has been generously provided by the FUNd Endowment at CSU and Colorado Creative Industries. CCI and its activities are made possible through an annual appropriation from the Colorado General Assembly and federal funds from the National Endowment for the Arts.